Friday, December 31, 2021


This year, like other years, Christmas rings in the good news. Bells jingle, hearts mingle, and all decorations are merry and bright. The tree is always the central focus and as a glorious dedication to the birth of the tiny savior, my tree tells a story. Birds announce the good news. Beads adorn the layers of the tree. Ribbons flounce. An angel watches over and vintage ornaments dangle against the lights.  Faith ties the family together. Late at night, Santa tiptoes in with a ho, ho, ho, and before he leaves rings one of the bells collected over the years. 

In the great room, bells from an old carriage, a cowbell, and jingle bells
are nestled in the tree waiting for Santa's touch.

The Ringing of the Bells

Birds sing.
Let's rejoice!
Hear the voice.
Santa shouts ho-ho
Coming in from snow.
Ding, dang-
Rudolph is aglow.
Bells tinkle to go.
Into the sky,
Deer and sleigh fly.
Bells tinkle with joy
For every girl and boy.
Bells ring
Angels sing.
Christ is born
On Christmas morn.
©CV, 2021, draft

Christmas at My New House in Virginia

Grandgirls decorate their tree on
Christmas Eve and sight two snowprints
by their fireplace on Christmas morn.

Listen to Aretha Franklin sing "O Christmas Tree" here.

Thank you to the Poetry Sisters who challenged everyone to write a poem dealing with bells and share it on Poetry Friday. They also suggested ringing in the New Year on social media with the hashtag, #PoetryPals.


Thank you to Carol Wilcox for hosting Poetry Friday at her blog, Carol's Corner.
She is sharing sad news about the wildfires that broke out 10 miles from her home in Colorado. There is devastation and families without homes. My thoughts and prayers are with Carol who is tracking down people she loves and also with the families who lost their homes in the fire. 

May the New Year bring us to a more peaceful place.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Frosted Memories

Christmas has always been a very special time for me. There is something about the shining lights, the decorating, and the baking that reminds me of how faith, family, and love intertwines to bless the house with joy. 

One feature of my new house that brings family and friends together is my kitchen with its huge space. It is here that I spent much time preparing the annual cookie bundles this year. I dabbled with different flavors and types of cookies but saved some time for the traditional sugar cookie making. First, I needed to find the cookie cutters that hold years of memories. Next, icing was needed so I searched the internet to find a delicious peppermint icing,  Sprinkles were needed after several attempts to cut out the cookies. This process brought me back to memories of baking cookies with my mother. As an artist, she easily decorated her cookies with different types of nibs. No matter how hard I tried, I could not create a design like hers but I heard on TV that a cookie's decoration did not need to be perfect. All you need to do is have fun. 

When I opened the sugar cookie container on Christmas, my granddaughter, Sierra, quietly snuck up next to me, peeked into the cookie container, and softly said.

"Grandma, you make beautiful cookies." 

After that sweet statement, my heart leaped for joy. I knew that my kitchen would be the place where baking happens with the little grandgirls and new memories would be born. 

Try a cookie. 
Make your own.
Enjoy the art of baking that brings 
loved ones together in a special place.
Baking Steps

in the kitchen
gather to bake
decorate with care

taste the cookies
frosted with sweetness
remember Christmases past

smile with love
compliment your efforts
bake another batch
©CV, 2021


"Kitchen. Noun - A gathering place for friends and family. A place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love."

This is my Slice of Life forTwo Writing Teachers. I end with recollections of every bite of Christmas cookies I taste-tested this holiday.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Surprises Arrive

The days have a chill now and the countdown to Christmas is more real than ever. As dusk brings down its shades, timed lights illuminate the new house. The smell of cookies waft out from the kitchen where memories of Christmases past arise. Holiday joy is tucked into each nook, waiting for a special arrival of my granddaughters. Will there be a surprise on their face when they walk in the door?

The topic of granddaughters is often in my thoughts. My artist-poet friend Michelle Kogan picked up on my love of being a grandma and sent me a grand surprise through the mail, my first ever winter poem swap. Imagine my surprise to find an original Kogan watercolor pen ad ink art inside the envelope. Not only is the drawing beautiful but there is a golden shovel poem she created from a poem on my website. She even included instructions for the framer if the print is framed.


Michelle's note was included inside one of her cards, Reindeer, watercolor and watercolor pencil from her Etsy collection. Below you will find other floral and bird handcreated note cards and a  a couple of bookmarks. I could look at these beautiful drawings again and again. 

I swooned over the delightful rabbit cards, one for Valentines Day and the other one with a poem for allergy season.

itch twitch tickle
teasing breezes bring sneezes
over me and

In gratitude for Michelle Kogan's gorgeous, colorful, authentic artwork and persistence to meet the Poem Swap deadline, I penned the following poem: 
within the heart of a poet, lays the beauty of silent words
waiting to reveal sweetened messages of inspired thought
as simple and pure as moonbeams in an indigo sky
©CV, 2021


Michelle and I planned to showcase each other's Winter Poem Swap offerings at Poetry Friday today. Click here to view what Michelle said about what I sent her. We were determined amidst our busy schedules to meet the deadline as close as possible.


The Winter Poem Swap was inspired by poet friend, Tabatha Yeatts, and scheduled this season by my author-poet friend, Laura Shovan. I am grateful to have such a wonderful poem partner to start off my experience in the Winter Poem Swap. 


I unveiled the final edition to the Bedecked In Autumn Gallery of Artistic Expressions this week. You can find another piece of Michelle's artwork featured in the gallery here.
Please stop to see the majesty of autumn.


Thank you to author-poet Buffy Silverman for hosting Poetry Friday on Christmas Eve.
She also shares her Winter Poem Swap with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

I wish everyone a joyous and blessed holiday season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

From Bedecked In Autumn to Winter

All aboard nature's train. Next stop: Winter's Embrace but before hopping on the train take a stroll through the very last edition of Bedecked In Autumn, my fall gallery of artistic expressions.

"Autumn's humming with the wind a soulful lullaby, as heartbroken trees shed their leaves in a tear-stained goodby."  - Angie Weiland-Crosby

As the seasons change, fall transitions to winter (in the northern hemisphere) and we get ready for a new year." (Angie Weiland-Crosby) Today, on December 21st, the official end of autumn and the celebration of the Winter Solstice, I bid a final goodby to autumn, a season of radiance and luster.

I invite you to take a gallery walk through the final edition of the Bedecked In Autumn Gallery.

While strolling through the gallery, listen to a beautiful instrumental song, Goodby Autumn, music by Giovanni Marradi.


Fall offers serene spaces.
Two Writing Teachers-Slicer, Diane Anderson, found her sweet spot at the lake.

Fall Morning at the Lake
Water rippling, stirred by a slight  wind
Trees at the edge burnt orange, golden, emerald green
Sky above in shades, light seeping in
A white bird gliding before the clouds, above the water
A peaceful calm spreads from heart to mind
Ready now for the day ahead.
-Diane Anderson, 2021
Below, artist/poet Michelle Kogan shares her
Evergreen Moon & Snow Greeting  Card in watercolor and pen and ink painting,, 2021


"If ever a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour." 
- Victoria Erickson

 Children's Corner
Hailee and Cooper, two 5th grade students from Vancouver, Washington, offer their poems for the gallery. Educator poet, Jone Rush MacCulloch, proudly presents her work and the students' poetry.

Autumn's Transition
"Autumn is the hush before winter." -French proverb

Cooper, 5th-grade student
Hailee, 5th-grade student
Michelle Kogan
Jone Rush MacCulloch

Previous Autumn Galleries

Please visit previous autumn galleries of artistic expressions that integrate the arts, technology, and poetry. Click on the titles of the underlined galleries. 

2014  -   Finding Fall
2015   -  Autumn's Palette
2016   -  Autumn Venture
2017   -  Autumn Ablaize 
2020 -  Abundant Autumn 
2021   -  Bedecked In Autumn (comprised of three previous sections: Unveiling of the Bedecked in Autumn Gallery, A Slice of Bedecked In Autumn Gallery, In Praise of Autumn)


Please leave a comment below or on social media so that the joy of this gallery and the work of all those who contributed can be spread throughout the world.


Slice of Life Tuesday comes each week at Two Writing Teachers.
Remember the small moments of autumn that brought great joy and calmness to you.
I send Happy Winter Solstice greetings to all with my poetic wish.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Winter Solstice Cento

Autumn is passing its baton next Tuesday, December 21st to celebrate the end of its radiant season and the Winter Solstice. "This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year's threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future; the place of caught breath." - Margaret Atwood, Canadian Poet

A Winter Solstice Wish

One must have a mind of winter.
Look at winter with winter eyes. 
In the smell of the past,
A cold night crosses.
The sweet sense of black birch-
The browns, the olives, and the yellows died.
Close by the jolly fire I sit.
Frosty winds made moan.
The darkest evening of the year,
My heart wears you like curtains.
Wanted: one moment in mountains.
©CV, 2021
Background photo by chandler-cruttenden on Unsplash.

Sources for Winter Solstice Wish
Cento Poem

The Snow Man - Wallace Stevens
Winter Eyes - Douglas Florian
Winter Solstice - Hilda Morley
Winter Eyes - Douglas Florian
Winter Song - Wilfred Owen
Winter-Time- Robert Louis Stevenson
A Christmas Carol - Christina Rossetti
Horses in Snow - Roberta Hill Whiteman

Listen to the calming Celtic song, Winter Solstice Song, by Lisa Thiel.

May the miracles of the winter solstice inspire you.

Today is Poetry Friday at Jone Rush MacCulloch's blog. Click here to see the poetic goodness Jone offers as this week's host. Thank you Jone for sharing your amazing double golden shovel poem and news about the New Year Poetry Postcards Event.

If time permits, I will add the last edition of my Bedecked In Autumn Gallery tomorrow. Jone and two of her students are featured in the final gallery edition. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Countdown to Christmas

The countdown begins. Lately, I am as busy as the North Pole elves trying to prepare for Christmas. I forget how few days are left to finish decorating, baking, and wrapping gifts-10 days exactly until Christmas Eve. 

Tonight, I spend time decorating a little more of the outside and inside spaces. It is a layering process so take a peek. Let's start at the front door. I invite you inside.

My Nonnie's plant cart from 70 years ago is on the left while Santa is on the right.

I enjoy making wreaths. Bow making is a new passion. 
The foyer is undergoing a second phase of decorating.
The flocked pencil tree is a new addition to my Christmas treasures.
 The chair is an antique piece but Santa and the elf are new.
Do you recognize this book or one like it from childhood days?
Books are an important part of my holiday season.


be my guest

I invite you inside
feel the spirit of Christmas

wishes come your way
for holiday happiness
from my heart to yours
©CV, 2021


Slice of Life Tuesday comes each week at Two Writing Teachers.
Enjoy the small moments of my holiday house decorating fun.

You can see Phase 1 of my holiday decorating fun here.

Friday, December 10, 2021

It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas

It's beginning to look like Christmas everywhere in my home. Decorating for the season or holiday is one of my passions. I enjoy creating a home that brings the beauty of the outside in and the decorative spirit to the outside. What makes my new Virginia home different from my Long Island one is the open concept house where I can easily blend some of the old (antique pieces) with the new. 

I opened the door so you can step into my foyer and study. The flocked pencil tree greets everyone. You can see some antique pieces mixed with my new furniture. 

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because of its connection to faith, family, and hope for brighter times. The latter is especially needed now. 

Take a peek at some of the decorated corners. The foyer is still in the planning stages. 

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Sing to the holly, the Christmas holly,

a chant sublime.

Nature lends her voice to praises

in the jingle-jangle mornin'.

Waiting to remember exactly,

it calls us, with an angel's voice.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky.

Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

Wonder upon wonder.

©CV, 2021, Cento Poem

Sources for My Cento Poem

Title: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble

1. The Christmas Holly by Eliza Cook

2. Christmas Bells by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow 
3. Christmas Carol by Paul Laurence Dunbar 
4. Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds
5. Ship's Manifest by Amanda Gorman 
6. Music on a Christmas Morning by Emily Bronte
7. Ring Out Wild Bells by Alfred Lord Tennyson
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess 
9. O Holy Night by John Sullivan Dwight 
10. Before the ice is in the pools by Emily Dickenson 
Thank yous are extended to Mary Lee Hahn who inspired me to take on the Inklings' challenge suggested by Molly Hogan: try a poetry form that was new to us. I wrote a cento poem/patchwork poem. Research is needed when writing a cento poem that is composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets.”
Last week for Poetry Friday, I interviewed Matt Forrest Esenwine about his new book, Today I Am. If you did not visit my blog site and would like to read Matt's responses, please click here.
Thanks to Shannon Krieg at POW! Kids Books for providing a copy of Matt's book for one lucky person. Congratulations Michelle Kogan. I know you are excited to receive and review the book.  
I am ready for Poetry Friday but not fully ready to open the doors to all the decorated rooms in my house. It's hard to balance life during the holidays so here I am in the wee hours of morning typing away. Thanks to Cathy Mere for hosting Poetry Friday today at her blog, She is rolling out the red carpet for the Poetry Friday community.

"Happy holidays to all, and to all a good-night."